Voucher Abuse and Charter School Hijacking in New Orleans

3- louis armstrong schoolNew Orleans The fight to get anyone to hold the charter school explosion to any accountability at all anywhere in the country is mainly a struggle to get anyone’s attention, since for the most part they could be getting away with murder and no one would know given the huge decentralization and the total lack of any transparency, public governance, or public accountability. I’ve been riding this sag back horse in the five years since charter school proponents in league with anti-democratic, usually racist, anti-public school folks hijacked the New Orleans school system with the excuse of Katrina. Now more evidence of these disasters is becoming inescapable.

In the morning Times-Picayune test scores eviscerated the pilot school voucher program promoted by Governor Jindal (nota bene: Bobbie having a bad week after being eviscerated as a total, scheming hypocrite on the front page of the New York Times on Saturday for political double talk around the BP disaster, where it turns out the state is also not holding up its end of the job!) and implemented 2 years ago. On equivalent LEAP scores that are mandatory for 4th graders, the public schools kicked the proverbial in comparison to the same cohort attending mainly parochial schools in Orleans parish with the vouchers. Essentially in typical school fiasco, we are now paying to subsidize private and parochial educations with taxpayer dollars to do a worse job for our kids. The state superintendent apologist for the schools, Peter Pastornek, tried to equivocate and blame both the tests and the kids, but he’s never listened to criticism of the mandatory testing before….

Meanwhile during what Rebecca Skolnit called the “elite panic,” former Governor Blanco was conned into signing an executive order allowing the New Orleans system to be charterized for a 5-year period before they would have to be booted out or renewed. The Times-Pic is a little disingenuous in saying that the real options are a 3-year renewal, a longer renewal, and the boot or switch to another charter operator without every explaining how citizens might return these public properties to public accountability and public supervision by elected school board members. It is clear now that as the bell gets ready to ring on the 5 year timer this fall and winter, everyone is totally clueless about the process of renewing or handling anything to do with these schools. The Scott Cowen and Tulane cabal are already doing the heavy whine as they try to cover up and rationalize the results at Capdau which they began running ahead of many other charters. Other recent reports have also begun to trickle out indicating that test scores in many of the charters are weak, money has shown up missing in a couple of high dollar high profile scandals, pet principals have been raking in princely sums, and god knows what else.

For all of the rock throwing at the public school system in New Orleans and the elected school boards, these secret societies running the charters seem to be a thousand times worse. There really is no excuse for public property being treated as private playthings, especially when we are talking about our children’s education!

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3 thoughts on “Voucher Abuse and Charter School Hijacking in New Orleans

  1. It does not surprise me that charter schools are working in such an insidious manner. Public schools are an easy target for so many things because they are public in all the results they arrive at and measured. Yet charter schools and public schools share one common trait, they both want the public to get off its finger pointing rear end and join in on what should be a national fervor to making everyone responsible for education. If you are a real estate agent and use schools to sell houses, then support after school programs too. If you are selling a job opportunity and use schools to draw people in then offer scholarships for improvement that can be used for college. We don't need charter schools and private business to take the money and run, which is so often the case with charter schools. We need the president, the governors, mayors, neighbors and businesses to keep asking what is happening in schools by being part of them, by thanking good parenting skills, good study habits, and all the hard hours teachers put in for so little thanks or credit.

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